01.17.09

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Off Topic: Politics of Software (and Everything Else)

Posted in Humour at 8:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A lot of people seem surprised by the news that Obama exchanged standards for lock-in (Microsoft). But none of this should be shocking and the candidacy/parties do not matter. That’s just how this system is intended to be run.

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“Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”

Richard Stallman

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12 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    January 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Gravatar

    You are simply wrong here. Elections matter, but the public only focuses on a few detail and the political elite only respond on those issues quickly. And anyway, the political elite isn’t thinking that differently than the masses. About the only issue that I’m aware that you can really show a huge difference between the views of political elite and the masses in the United States is illegal immigration and in that particular case, the elites take the leftist stance. That they take the leftist side when they differ makes nonsense of the evil corporate control paranoia theories like Chomsky et al. Admittedly, the corporation agree with the leftist stance in this particular case, but if we are to posit corporate control of dialog to get this result, we’d have to believe that the corporate media promoted Chomsky as the leftist spokesman just to promote illegal immigration and we are getting into what is clearly crazy land.

    And if Roy read political sites like he does tech website, he’d find out that support for Linux and Open Source and opposition to it are completely uncorrelated with political stance. When discussion turn to operating systems on right-wing websites and left-wing websites, you’ll find that roughly the same argument occurs.

  2. Friend said,

    January 18, 2009 at 2:57 am

    Gravatar

    Reminds me of a quote from Metal Gear Solid 4

    Big Boss: Boss… you were right. It’s not about changing the world. It’s about doing our best to leave the world… the way it is.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 18, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Gravatar

    aeshna23,

    People are rarely offered choice wrt issues that matter — policies. It’s mostly branding.

  4. Needs Sunlight said,

    January 18, 2009 at 5:48 am

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    @aeshna23: wrong about change, there was a lot of hard and fast effort done to eliminate standards-based streaming.

    The crap they worked so hard to pound through only reaches a fraction of the US computer-using population, albeit a large fraction, but significantly less than the whole. Thus it is deliberately exclusionary and against openness and democracy.

    Of the streaming methods that can reach 100% of the computer-using population, most tools are even open source. Though you can have open standards even without open source, if “pork” is required of the project.

    Right now, Quicktime and MPEG are the way to support democracy. Theora streams should be offered on the side to further the growth of a useful open video standard.

    In some cases change is bad, as we see in the incoming administration’s change away from open standards and protocols for online communication. Staying with open standards and protocols for video streaming would allow the potential to reach 100% of the computer-using population, rather than just some of it.

  5. Needs Sunlight said,

    January 18, 2009 at 5:54 am

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    Given that there are no technical benefits to using MSFT crap for the inauguration and only disadvantages, one wonders if a case for sedition can be built against those involved.

    After all, what’s happening here is a case of an external and, some would say, hostile interest grabbing control over public communications and positioning itself as gate-keeper and bottle neck between the citizens of the US and their elected officials.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 18, 2009 at 6:08 am

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    This seems like a classic case of using codecs and/or DRM as a lock-in. I’ll post some antitrust exhibits about that soon.

    “In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this,” said Bill Gates [PDF]

  7. SR said,

    January 18, 2009 at 6:49 am

    Gravatar

    I doubt, with all of the important work ahead of him, that Obama is even aware of the streaming format of his inauguration. I’d even go so far to say that it’s the *furthest* thing from his mind.

    Sure, it’s issue #1 in the minds of tunnel-visioned zealouts who measure him by this, but this is a storm in a tea-cup.

    And suggesting sedition only makes one sound like a world-class jackass. On the priority list for fixing America, streaming format for an event that will also be on every channel on the tele is pretty low, and some of these arguments border on the sublimely absurd ;-)

    And furthermore, suggesting some “I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine” relationship because of streaming format is unfounded, unsupported by *any* fact, libelous, ill-researched, ill-thought, and frankly, so absurd I’m having a hard time putting the absurdity into meaningful words…

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 18, 2009 at 7:20 am

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    It’s not Obama himself, but he’s the front man in a party. It’s the administration which is elected, not the person (a public face or “branding” slant in the elections).

    This criticism has nothing to do with Obama or Democrats; it’s to do with an inherently broken system and procurement that is irrational and discriminatory.

  9. Andre said,

    January 18, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Gravatar

    Having industry hearings of the government on youtube, forget about the flash format and open standards for now, would be a great contributions to transparency of governance.

    It makes sense to campaign for these small and simple changes of transparency matters that do shift power.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 18, 2009 at 11:44 am

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    You’re assuming that the Tube is open for participation.

    Opening of the process ought to be broader.

    The Democrats have already made some discouraging appointments.

  11. Paul Gaskin said,

    January 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Gravatar

    Obama is an inspiring leader, but perhaps not the kind of strong leader I admire. Obama doesn’t want to focus on the underlying struggle which gained him the office.

    Hugo Chavez is a strong leader. He says what he means and means what he says. He’s not afraid to fight, nor does he fail to acknowledge the bitter struggle.

    I still feel a general goodwill towards Obama, even though he’s done and said so many disappointing things before his first day as president.

    My patience will eventually wear out if he doesn’t do something different from previous administrations.

    The Democrats have been Republicans for decades now, and we don’t need another god-damned Republican. We elected a Democrat (D), we didn’t vote for a Republican.

    The government doesn’t even bother to pretend to represent us. They treat us like “noblemen” treat peasants. Will that change with Obama?

  12. s.plisskin said,

    January 20, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Gravatar

    It doesn’t matter who you vote for now because the elites have infiltrated all political parties with radicals posing as moderates. Money says who gets coverage in the media owned by these elites. They select and groom leaders years in advance.

    The only way you can make real change is to convince yourselves and your friends to get deeply involved in politics and parties and force your candidates through by selecting candidates right for the job and who you know isn’t in the pocket of the elites.

    Unfortunately the people who are most attracted to power are psychotic sociopathic control freaks with delusions of grandeur. The rest of us just want to live peaceful lives.

    The only change you will see from Obama is that he will be much better at hiding his evil malice than Dick and Bush ever were. You will gladly follow your new messiah onto the FEMA trains.

    Use Gnu/Linux because the elite want you to use Windows/OSx.

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